Accountancy Specialisations You Can Choose From
Whenever you apply for either a graduate or internship programme in accountancy or financial management, employers tend to ask for your prospective area of specialisation.
But even if you don’t have much of an idea of where you would like to go, there is help out there for you. For instance, KPMG’s graduate website offers applicants a test to help them see which areas of accountancy they are best suited for.
While your choice of degree or your grades may affect your options, unless certain organisations or divisions have specific criteria for entry, choosing your area of specialty is really a matter of figuring out what suits you and your personality best.
Here are some areas of specialisation as well as the type of person they may attract:
Assurance deals with reviewing a company’s financial data and procedures to ensure shareholders’ money is being used properly, and also shares information with shareholders if they are contemplating investing in the organisation. If you have a strong academic record, self-confidence, and formidable skills in communication and interpersonal relations, assurance could be your cup of tea.
Because sectors spanning from retail and manufacturing to leisure and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) need commercial finance managers to analyse the performance of products or services as well as make recommendations on how to maximise profits, this specialisation is at the very core of commerce and industry. Because it concentrates on consumer transactions, commercial finance suits those who have robust analytical skills and good business awareness.
If confidence, resilience and good communications and numeracy skills are your strong points, you should consider corporate finance. Notorious for its long hours and high pressure, this area of accountancy adds value to firms through buying and selling. There are also a number of roles available here, from lawyers, who make sure transactions are carried out in a legally binding manner, to auditors and accountants, whose area of responsibility includes ensuring targeted companies are in good order, and lead advisors, who raise capital.
If the way that companies work interest you and you boast excellent negotiation skills alongside an ability to handle complicated and sensitive financial information, corporate recovery may be the specialisation for you. Those who specialise in this area of accountancy are typically appointed through referrals from lawyers, banks, or other accountants as this field deals with ensuring that employees, suppliers and creditors get the best deal in the event a business fails.
Formidable analytical skills, a solid understanding of business and economics and an ability to work and persevere under pressure are some of the traits that characterise those drawn to corporate treasury. At the centre of an organisation, because corporate treasurers ensure a firm has enough liquid capital to meet any demands that may be demanded of it, it requires you to be up-to-date on any developments regarding the business that may generate a risk.
If you possess an inquisitive, analytical mind, strong communications skills and an inclination to challenge and constantly improve the way a firm works, financial accounting may be the field for you. Although financial accountants analyse and report on transaction that give essential information on how a business is performing, they also need to explain complex financial layouts and arrangements to others who may have little to no background in finance.
For those who are curious, yet have sound judgment and formidable communication and numerical skills, forensic accounting is the area to be. As forensic accountants help clients with issues such as fraud and suspected misconduct through investigations before quantifying any losses that may be involved, an ability to convey potentially complex financial conclusions to others with backgrounds that may not include finance is needed.
This area of accountancy appeals to those who are able to see the bigger picture, yet still have an eye for detail, strong knowledge in how companies are run and strong as well as effective communication skills. Teams of internal auditors focus on key areas of a firm and report findings to the management. Additionally, internal auditors can advise management if the firm is run inefficiently or even in a financially risky manner.
If some traits you have include strong decision-making and numeracy skills as well as good business acuity and an ability to pass on sophisticated financial information to management in a manner that is easily understandable, management accounting may be the field for you. Dealing with economic information that can facilitate the decision-making process, management accountants needs to have extensive knowledge of the sectors they are active in, as well as a wide spectrum of skills from planning to strategy on top of their skills in accounting in order to provide the specific advice they are known for.
Robust communications skills and a curious, logical mind to pinpoint problems as well as the creativity to produce solutions are some of the traits many of those in this field have. An important role in assisting firms in managing, understanding prioritising risk in order to avert problems while capitalising on opportunities, it also helps clients realise their goals, which may include protecting their reputation or expanding their reach.
An inclination for analysis, numeracy, discretion and problem-solving along with a capability to build strong relationships based on trust may lead you to the area of tax. Tax advisors typically ensure clients meet taxation demands with compliance and cost-effective solutions, or may even be called in as consultants to offer solutions to unique tax issues.